The residents of Rovaniemi appreciate the amazing nature of Rovaniemi, the people, peace and silence, snow, easy living and good connections.
Rovaniemi Week (3.9.–9.9.2018) in an annual event that includes dozens of cultural events free of charge around Rovaniemi: workshops, discussions, exhibitions, music and dance of many genres, folk art and craft etc. This year’s theme is "Rovaniemi − My Dear Hometown". The theme celebrates things that make Rovaniemi a comfortable place to stay and visit as well as the pride and love of its citizens for their hometown.
We interviewed some residents of Rovaniemi to hear what makes them feel pride and love for their hometown.
One of them, Esa Posio, has lived in Rovaniemi since his birth to the age of 33, when he shifted to Barcelona. He lived there for five years, then returned home. Posio said: “Now, 10 years after the return, I think I may live here for the rest of my life. But, of course, other possibilities may arise! I love the atmosphere of our city. It is vibrant, alive, and cosmopolitan. People generally are open-minded. Nature is close. I also love the architecture and town planning of Alvar Aalto! And, of course, the University of Lapland! I really enjoy the ease with which I can roam around in this city. My favourite nature spots are Ounasvaara and the Kemijoki and Ounasjoki rivers.”
Joonas Peltoperä has been living here for about 10 years now. “I can see myself moving away to another place for a job, but I definitely wouldn't like to go too far south. This is a city with plenty of educational and job opportunities. For someone like me, who grew up in countryside, Rovaniemi offers a right mix of civic amenities and the Northern solitude to some extent. I love its people: the city is a home to some fantastic individuals.”
Elina Rask-Litenda, who moved from Kemi to Rovaniemi in 2004, when she started dating her husband, said: “My kids were born here and they go to school here. So I intend to continue living here. What I love the most about this city are its people. My family is here, my friends as well. I have wonderful colleagues here and the Rovaniemi Congregation, too, is functioning well. The nature is amazing. I can go cross-country skiing right from my yard − there is a decent track! The scenery is beautiful; the nature is very neat. And the highly interesting site named ‘devil's churns’ in Rautiosaari may well be the finest in Finland.”
Another native citizen, Inga Raittinen, said, “I was born and brought up in Rovaniemi. I have been living here for 28 years now, and I don't mind living here for the rest of my life. But, if I have to relocate for some reason, I will always carry the knowledge that I am always welcome to return home. This city will never abandon me, even though I might leave it. I love Rovaniemi, because it’s my hometown. I love the size of it − not too small nor too big. And I love it also because it’s very familiar to me.”
Inga Metsola, who moved to Rovaniemi two and a half years ago for employment, however, sounded less enthusiastic about the city: “I never imagined that I would come here to live, but things happened and here I am. I can picture staying here longer, as Western Lapland is my home and Rovaniemi feels better the longer I stay. [But] I can’t say if I will be still here after the next five years, as it depends on how my life unfolds. When I moved to this city, I had no feelings towards it whatsoever. I was actually a little sceptic about it. In terms of location, Rovaniemi is a practical choice for someone like me, who has family across Lapland but who also wants to escape the urban life, by train or plane, now and then. ”
According to a graduate student, Lauri Pitkänen, “I have lived here since 2011. I am supposed to graduate by spring 2019. I have been thinking about continuing studies for a doctoral degree; so I cannot say how long I will stay here. There are a lot of potential projects all around Rovaniemi and Lapland. So, most likely, I'll stay for quite a while. The only places in Finland where you can study arts at the university level are Helsinki and Rovaniemi. I grew up near Helsinki. So I thought moving to some place where I know no one would be a good thing for me. I came here and learned to love the atmosphere and the local community. In the city centre, you can find everything that has something to do with free time activities, hobbies and so on. And if you want to enjoy peace and silence like most Finns, there are plenty of forests in close proximity.”
Another immigrant, Thomas Cook, said: “I have come here nine years ago, when I became married. I can now call Rovaniemi my beloved hometown, because I have received a very warm welcome from the local people. I heard that it is quite difficult for a foreigner to fit in the Finnish community. But it’s not. I have a lot of friends here as well as colleagues, and my wife’s family. I feel very comfortable here as it is a cosmopolitan city. I love its nature, sauna, and ice swimming!”
Jonni Kaitale said, “I’ve been living here for three years now and I will probably stay here until I finish my studies. To be honest, after that I might move to somewhere else. But I am not in a rush to move. I like the size of Rovaniemi. It’s not too big and not too small. You have almost everything that you need: shops and services are available round the clock. I like the international environment, especially on the campus of the University of Lapland. It is really great! Coming from the south, I really love the snow here. I also like that it stays put for months, white and beautiful.”
Eero Pajula, a long-time resident of the city said, “I’ve been here for about 40 years now. Actually, when I retire, my wife and I plan to relocate to some place like India. But we are kind of tied up here with our family, friends, community, organisations, everything. It’s extremely difficult to leave all that. But we have a summer cottage in Lappeenranta where we can escape to for some rest.”
City of Rovaniemi- Daily Finland Report